Purpose of the Academic Affairs Committee

The purpose of the Simmons Academic Affairs Committee is to review curriculum, new program proposals, and academic policies and procedures to ensure that they are consistent with SMU’s strategic academic priorities.

Our specific goals are to do the following:

  • Monitor and align Simmons’ academic programs to SMU’s academic mission and strategic plans.
  • Consider and approve proposals for new courses and programs.
  • Consider and approve whether academic programs are appropriately responding to student needs, interests, and professional workforce demands.
  • Assess and monitor the educational quality of Simmons’ programs to continuously improve our academic standards.

We also focus our attention on the following academic matters:

  • Revision of course offerings
  • Elimination of programs
  • Modification of courses
  • Modification of programs
  • Creation of new certificates
  • Review of other substantive educational changes

Committee Membership

The committee is composed of faculty that have been appointed by the chairs of their departments. The Associate Dean of Academic Affairs of Simmons serves as the chair of the committee. 2021-22 committee members include:

Meeting Schedule and Deadlines

The AAC requires that all course and program proposals be submitted two weeks prior to the meeting date on which the proposal is to be reviewed.

Meeting Dates

The Simmons AAC meets approximately once a month during the Fall and Spring terms.

FALL 2023

Meeting Date Proposal Deadline
August 30 August 16
September 20 September 6
October 18 October 4
November 15 November 8


Meeting Date Proposal Deadline
January 17 January 3
February 21 February 7
March 20 March 6
April 17 April 4

Please refer to the EPC meeting schedule to make sure your proposal is submitted to the AAC in time for the EPC deadlines.

Documentation for New Course Proposals

Please submit the following 4 items for new on-campus course proposals:

  1. Simmons School New Course Proposal Form
  2. Syllabus - Please include information on total learning time expectations for class contact hours and homework assignment time outside of class in your Syllabus. For example, SMU requires that a three-credit hour course includes a minimum of 42 contact hours (50 minutes per hour), and at least TWICE as much time allocated for “out of class” time on homework. This should be clearly communicated in your Syllabus.
  3. Syllabus Checklist Form
  4. Rubrics/Assessments for the course

Documentation for Online or Hybrid Course Proposals

All Online or Hybrid course proposals must start with the approval of a Concept Form for New or Continuing Education Programs or Courses before you can submit a New Course Proposal Form. Additional approval is required for online and hybrid courses so please refer to the details on the Technology Guidelines page.


Please use the following forms for all Simmons School of Education and Human Development academic proposals.

Proposal Approvals needed Form and other documentation needed
1. New Course Proposal Department and Simmons AAC

- If the new course will be offered in online or hybrid format, please also complete the New Online/Digital Course Concept Form

Department, Simmons AAC and EPC
  • Please note that additional approval is needed by Simmons AAC and the EPC to support the development and implementation of high-quality online and hybrid programming.
  • Complete the survey at the following link to let the Dean's Office and AAC know about ideas for new Simmons Online Hybrid or Continuing Education courses prior to submitting proposals to the AAC or SMU GO. - Concept Form for New or Continuing Education Programs or Courses.
  • Contact Jennifer Culver for the latest Syllabus Template version for online or hybrid courses.
2. New Degree, Major, or Minor Program Proposal Department, Simmons AAC and EPC
3. Less than 25% Changes to an existing Simmons course or minor catalog changes Department and Simmons AAC
4. More than 25% Changes to an existing Simmons program or specialization, or major catalog changes Department, Simmons AAC and EPC
  • Please refer to the EPC long form or short form for changes that involve significant (> 25%) changes to an existing program that requires EPC approval at: https://www.smu.edu/Provost/ProvostOffice/CIP/EPC#forms---samples
  • The Long Form is needed for proposals for new majors, diplomas, degrees or certificates
  • The Short Form is needed for moderate curricular changes, such as:
    • Changes to subject prefixes for courses or departments
    • Changes to admission requirements for a major or minor
    • Changes to the name of a program
    • Substantial changes to a current major (more than 25%)
    • New minor, certificate, major track specialization, substantial changes to a minor or track specialization (more than 25% change in the number of credits), transcripted undergraduate specialization

Useful tips when submitting course and program proposals:

  1. All new course proposals and course modifications require a Syllabus as part of the submission.
  2. The title should be concise and descriptive, and it should conform to the existing style of the department from which it originates.
  3. Proposals should clearly demonstrate that assessments are tied to student learning outcomes.
  4. Assessment tools – such as rubrics, checklists, etc. – should be included in the course proposal.
  5. Faculty are encouraged to attend meetings when their proposal is being discussed.
  6. Approval by program and department, and requisite signatures, are required before proposals are submitted to the AAC.
  7. Syllabi must include information about the format for the course (especially if online or hybrid) and expectations for contact hours and homework/out-of-class time in line with federal guidelines (for example, a 3 credit hour course must meet a minimum of 42 hours on campus – based on 50 minutes per hour – and include at least twice as many hours of homework/out-of-class assignments).

Recommendations for Remote Teaching

Simmons recommendations for remote teaching.